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Of all the Italian varieties that have been rediscovered in the last few decades (of which there are many dozens), Pecorino is one of the most exciting. Found in the Marche and Abruzzo, Pecorino got its name from the sheep herders who used to eat the grapes while tending their flocks. It is a variety adapted to high altitude hillside vineyards with a long, cool growing season, and typically produces very full body wines, with plenty of acidity and delicate flavors. The Pietramore Pecorino is an archetypal example of how delicious these wines can be. Produced from biodynamically farmed vineyards, the grapes are macerated for 10 hours, fermented in steel, rested on the lees for 3 months, and then bottled with a light filtration. Loads of orchard fruit jump out on the nose over apple blossom, mint, and cool mountain air. The palate is full, sporting 14% alcohol, but has plenty of acidity so it feels crisp rather than heavy with flavors of tart apple, anjou pear, and muddled mint. Suited of course to Pecorino cheese it would also pair well with rich chicken or fish dishes, broccoli gratin, pork chops dressed with apples, or other full flavored cheese. Andy Paynter
Mindbending! These grapes from the 2000 harvest were destined for Alessandra Bera's Moscato d'Asti when something happened. The juice fermented to dryness and developed a layer of flor, which didn't die for 16 years. Always keen to push the boundries, Alessandra let nature take its course, and bottled this in 2017. An incredibly layered wine, it still has incredible freshness, and is unlike anything I've ever tasted. With great complexity, this shows notes of yellow flowers and white blossom, apricot, peach, peach skin, tangerine, grapefruit, grapefruit pith, lemon oil, resin, honeycomb and almond. The incredibly long finish is quite herbal, with chamomile and yarrow. It has a waxy, viscous texture, but doesn't lack for acidity. A real treat. Oskar Kostecki
Crivella is made with fruit from Bianco’s oldest vines, including some planted in the mid 1800s by Riccardo’s great-great-something grandfather; such old vines are extremely rare, and while they produce very little fruit, it’s impossible for Riccardo to even think about replacing them. At a tasting in the shop a customer said, “Like Sauternes with bubbles!” which was a lovely way to describe the wine and its rich and unctuous character. made lively with fizz. While there’s no botrytis, Crivella is much more complex and detailed than all but the very best Sauternes. I’ve certainly never tasted anything like it — a stunning wine. Jamie Wolff Moscato d'Asti is usually a fairly light and simple affair, but this bottling has gravitas to stand up to the most complex, aged cheeses. If an old Stilton and Port sounds a bit much, try this invigorating Moscato for a bit of a lighter approach. John Rankin
Passerina is a grape that I have little experience with beyond the wines of La Visciola in Lazio, which is a real shame given the depth of flavor a lifted texture the wines show. An obscure variety native to Lazio (and possibly distinct from a grape also named Passerina that grows along Italy’s Adriatic coast). The 2015 shows a more lifted character than the 2014. The nose is fairly tight on opening, giving notes of tart apple and pear leading into thyme and white flowers after a few minutes in the glass. Medium body with a soft texture and crisp acidity, the flavors show more candied lemon peel, green apple, and tart pear. Try it with grilled fish, potato or white pizza, soft cheese, or cured pork. Andy Paynter
Planted at over 700 meters – a high elevation that gives fruit with bright acidity, this is a stellar example of Grillo. The juice is fermented with skins for 3 days – enough to enrich the color and structure of the wine, but this is by no means an orange wine. It shows Grillo’s best (at 12.5° alcohol) with characteristic lemony herbs and mint, delicate floral notes, and firm salinity. The wine is fairy full-bodied, but remains lifted and bright. We drank some recently with grilled salmon (more than we originally intended since it was a school night - oh well - it was just too tasty), but it’s easy to imagine this working well with a big range of foods – or none. It’s a really delicious wine. Jamie Wolff
Oltretorrente has produced a wonderful Timorasso since they were founded in 2010 by Chiara Penati and Michele Conoscenti. The vines, planted in 1996, are tended organically with biodynamic practices and the grapes are vinified simply: the bunches are pressed whole-cluster and fermented with native yeasts in steel, resting on the lees for 8 months to lend texture and complexity. A touch golden in the glass, the wine shows strong aromas of ripe peach, honey, beeswax, and yellow flowers. The palate has some weight with a smooth texture, plenty of acidity, and rich stone fruit over a chalky mineral backbone. Simultaneously rich and crisp this wine would be a great match for more assertive dishes; try it with asparagus and hollandaise, cured cheese, risotto Milanese, honey-basted chicken, or white pizza. Andy Paynter
Orto di Venezia is a striking wine grown on the island of San Erasmo within the lagoon of Venice. Based on Malvasia Istriana but comprised of a number of other local cultivars all planted on its own root stock, the wine is deeply colored in the glass, with a nose reminiscent of ripe golden apples and honeysuckle undercut by a salty tone. The palate is bold, with an initial attack of juicy orchard fruit and rich texture, followed by a honeyed note giving way to a long savory finish. More than anything else, Orto shows a stern backbone of minerality bracing its mellow acidity and weight on the palate. I served it with shrimp cooked with their own stock and butter, but this wine would pair beautifully with anything out of the sea, soft cheese, or rich vegetable dishes. Open early and serve slightly chilled. Andy Paynter
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Manzoni froma small .6 hectare parcel above the town of Bolzano. The vines are only 10 years old, but are already producing a beautiful, textured white wine, that is both weighty and elegant. Quite floral on the nose, the palate shows notes of white blossom, ripe citrus, apricot, honey, and crushed vitamin candies. Decant before serving, or age for another few years. Oskar Kostecki
A blend of Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Bianco, Sylvaner and Chardonnay, grown biodynamically on steep hillside vineyards above the town of Bolzano, 2017 is a sensational vintage of Tonsur, both compelling and a joy to drink. An aromatic and floral nose gives way to an energetic palate, showing notes of stone fruit and citrus, citrus peel, and white flowers. The wine has vibrant, zippy acidity, and a great mineral character of crushed stones, balanced by great texture from a bit of skin contact. A great food wine, but equally delicious on its own. Oskar Kostecki
Terraquilia makes this delicious sparkling white using the ancestral method and releases them with the wine remaining on the lees, or col fondo. The grapes are a blend of Pignoletto (known as Grechetto in other parts of Italy) and Trebbiano, which are grown on a mix of clay and silt soils. The robe is a hazy straw yellow in the glass (the haze being due to the fondo) and the nose exhibits rich aromas of golden apple, pineapple, citrus zest, honeysuckle, and a touch of fresh herbs. The palate is medium-bodied, dry and refreshing with fruity and savory notes of Bosc pear, dried peach, fresh lemon, lime pith, and an almondy finish with bright acidity. This easy-drinking white is a great alternative to prosecco and is deliciously enjoyed on its own or paired with a cheese and salumi plate. Anna DeBeer